KIndred’s Special: Gruenfeld Defence 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5

One of the most popular defenses in both skittles and tournament play at the Rochester Chess Club during the 1950s-70s was the Gruenfeld Defence often seen in the hands of Rochester’s most famous player Grandmaster Kenneth Rogoff. On my site I refer you to the 11-game match between Samuel Reshevsky and Isaac Kashdan that I posted earlier featuring a number of Gruenfeld variations. Popularity from the White side varied with players representing different eras. The two most popular being the Russian variations 4.Nf3  Bg7  5. Qb3 dxc4  6. Qxc4  O-O  7. e4 and Exchange variations 4. e4  Nxc3  5. bxc3. You can find the major lines in opening books as well as in chess magazines.

When I talk of era favorites related to the Classical Exchange system, I like to follow the 1959 Yugoslavia vs. USSR match, between Gligoric and Smyslov. 4. cxd5  Nxd5  5. e4  Nxc3  6. bxc3  Bg7  7. Bc4  c5  8. Ne2  O-O  9. O-O  Nc6  10. Be3  Qc7 a stock in trade of Smyslov and as I recall a favorite way for Ken Rogoff to employ his forces.  A good general treatise is Eric Schiller’s Standard Chess Openings. New In Chess (NCO) and Modern Chess Openings (MCO)  The whole system was found in exhaustive practice in the 1987 World Championship Match between Karpov and Kasparov.

What some term as the modern approach is 5. e4  Nxc3  5. bxc3  Bg7  6. Nf3 and those many ideas can be examined in the above books as well as FIDE Chess Informant series.

Lets jump ahead now to 2003 where Peter NIelsen met Luke McShane in the Sigeman Tournament at Malmo in a classical exchange line.

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  g6  3. Nc3  d5  4. cxd5  Nxd5  5. e4  Nxc3  6. bxc3  Bg7  7. Bc4  c5  8. Ne2 cxd4. The sole purpose of this move is to answer …Bg4 with f3. But chess marches on and it came to be recognized that White could employ Nf3 without worry due to a number of new ideas when adopting that opening choice. Still, the text remains a popular choice.  Both Ivanchuk and Svidler have contributed to the defense with 8…Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O  Bd7  11. Rb1 a6 which seems slow and leaves me somewhat disoriented.  12. dxc5  Na5 13. Bd3 Qc7  14. f4! Gaining space giving the Rook a bit of luft and then if 14…Rfd8 15. c6 Qxc6 16.Bb6  Bg4  17. Bxd8  Rxd8  18. h3 = but 18. Qc2 looks good since 18…Qc5 can be met by 19. Rf2 >Nd4 Analysis by participants.

9. cxd4  Nc6  10. Be3  O-O 11. O-O  Bg4  12. f3  Na5  13. Bd3  Be6  14. d5!  Bxa1 15. Qxa1 f6 16. Bh6 Winning the Exchange might be a material plus but the loss of this Bishop weakens the dark squares. Remember my topic around the value of studying and understanding the board and squares that make it up.  There was no comment here in the published notes by the players but I am wondering if it be possible to return the Exchange and play Qb6+ 17. Kh1 Bf7 (Rd8) presenting a  possible Rac8 allowing the Knight to mobilize re c4? Have fun analyzing it or checking it out on your computer.

16. … Re8  17. Kh1 Bd7 18. e5  Rc8  19. Ng3!! This shock discovery that now e4 square is under the gun probably shocked McShane.

19. …Nc4  20. Bxc4  Rxc4  21. Ne4  Qb6  22. Rd1!  To stop …Qd4.  In some positions the Bs  of opposite color are drawable. In this case as Larsen once pointed out depends upon the position!! Here White is superior.

22…Rxe4  23. fxe4  fxe5  24. Qxe5  Qf6  25. Qg3  e6 To stop the further advance of the pawn.

26. d6  e5  27. h3  b5  28. Bg5  Qe6  29. Be7 Rc8  30. Rf1  Qc4  31. Qf2  b4  32. Bg5  Bb5  33. d7!!  Bd7  34. Bh6  What chess is all about. In Bs of opposite color, once those squares can be directly attacked against the King, the game is all but over.

34. … Bf5  35. exf5  Qf7  36. f6  a5  37. Qb6  Ra8  Black’s flag fell.  White wins on time as well as having a winning position on the board.

One of the aesthetic beauties that arise from chess is how often like positions emerge out of different routes and the patterns can be applied to known theory and opening strategy. Being familiar with developing patterns will assist you when making plans and carrying out jump moves discussed in other articles.


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